Clean Energy Trust Challenge

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Venue SIX10

610 S Michigan Ave

Chicago, IL 60605

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About the CET Challenge

The Clean Energy Trust Challenge is a nationally recognized accelerator for clean energy innovation. Run by Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust, the Challenge has led to the development and growth of 80+ businesses throughout the Midwest.

The hallmark of the CET Challenge accelerator is the annual pitch competition that takes place in Chicago. This event brings together venture capitalists, industry executives, civic leaders, the media and the public to watch startups pitch their businesses and hear keynote addresses by prominent thought leaders. By combining access to capital with access to premier mentorship and national exposure, Clean Energy Challenge finalists receive value beyond funding.

Learn more about the CET Challenge and Clean Energy Prize Fund winners who’ve gone on to become Clean Energy Trust Portfolio Companies.

Keynote Speakers & Agenda

8:00 - 9:00 am - Registration & Breakfast - Lobby

sponsored by: U.S. Department of Energy

9:00 - 9:15 am - Welcome Remarks - 2nd floor

Erik Birkerts, CEO Clean Energy Trust

9:15 - 10:00 am - Morning Keynote Address - 2nd floor

Introduction By: Stephanie Dodson, Clean Energy Trust Board Member

“Creating Sustainable, Successful Startups”

Adam Lowry - CEO, Ripple Foods / Co-Founder, Method

10:00 - 11:00 am - Student Team Pitches (4 teams)

11:00 - 11:20 - Morning Break - 2nd floor

11:20 - 12:10pm - Early Stage Presentations ( 3 teams)

12:10 - 1:30 - Lunch sponsored by Wells Fargo - 9th floor

12:35 - 12:45 - Welcome Remarks by Ashley Grosh​, SVP Environmental Affairs, Wells Fargo “ Wells Fargo and Clean Energy Trust Partnership”

12:45 - 1:30 - Lakeside Chat Keynote - 9th floor

Introduction By: Nick Pritzker, Co-Chairman, Clean Energy Trust Board

Jim Rogers Former Chairman & CEO, Duke Energy | Author, Lighting the World​

Katherine Hamilton Principal, 38 North Solutions | The Energy Gang podcast, Greentech MEdia

2:00 - 3:00 - Early Stage Presentations (4 teams) - 2nd floor

3:00 - 3:45 - Internet of Things panel - Theater

​Caralynn Collens, CEO, UI Labs (Moderator)

Ryan Blitstein, Director, Energy Team, Uptake

Joe Feuling, VP, CBRE

Ben Bixby, Director of Energy Products, Nest Labs

3:45 - 4:00 - Afternoon Break - 2nd floor

4:00 - 4:15 - U.S. Department of Energy presentation - Theater

Karma Sawyer, Technology Analysis and Commercialization Manager, U.S. Department of Energy


Jetta Wong, Director, Office of Technology Transitions, U.S. Department of Energy

4:15 - 5:00 - Early Stage Presentations (3 teams)

5:00 - 6:00 - Investment Committee & Networking Break - 2nd floor

6:00 - 7:30 - Reception, Exhibition & Awards - 9th floor

2016 Finalists

Meet our fourteen 2016 Clean Energy Trust Challenge finalists!

They hail from all over the Midwest and range from Building Technologies to Manufacturing to Advanced Transportation. View the full list on our website here:



U.S. Department of Energy

Wells Fargo



Hanley Family Foundation

Pritzker Foundation

Shirley Weese Young

State of Illinois

United Airlines

We are so grateful to our judges, mentors, advisers, partners, and sponsors who help us showcase the best and most cutting edge clean energy innovations being developed in the Midwest. Review the full list of sponsors here.

Date and Time


Venue SIX10

610 S Michigan Ave

Chicago, IL 60605

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